Insulin. It’s key to blood sugar control

From understanding what insulin is, to learning about the four types of insulin, knowing about this hormone your body naturally produces can help. So, here you’ll find the basics about insulin and get answers to questions you may have.

About Insulin

What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone the pancreas makes to help your body use blood sugar for energy — or store it for later use.

What role does insulin play in your body?
The cells in your body need sugar for energy. But sugar cannot go into most of your cells directly, so that’s where insulin comes in. Insulin helps keep your blood sugar levels from getting too high, which can be dangerous.

A closer look into the role of insulin in diabetes

Learn more about why you may need an insulin like Toujeo

    Download transcript

     

    Insulin, Glucose and You

    When you hear the word insulin, you may think of a drug taken by people who have diabetes.

    While this is true, what you may not know is that insulin is one of the many hormones created in the human body.

    Insulin is important to the body. It allows blood sugar (or glucose) to get into cells to provide them with energy.

    When you eat, your body breaks down food into glucose in your small intestine.

    This is your body’s source of energy for everything it does, from working and thinking to exercising and healing.

    Glucose travels through your bloodstream, looking for individual cells that need energy.

    For glucose to get into the cells, it requires insulin.

    Insulin is the key that unlocks cells for glucose to enter and deliver energy.

    When insulin arrives, it signals the cell to activate glucose transporters.

    These transporters pull glucose through cell walls.

    When glucose moves into the cell, it delivers energy.

     

    Insulin Deficiency

    Insulin is normally produced in the pancreas by specialized cells called beta cells.

    When glucose enters your bloodstream, the pancreas matches it with the right amount of insulin to move glucose into your cells.

    In people with diabetes, this process doesn't work as it should. In type 1 diabetes, scientists believe the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas. A person with type 1 diabetes loses the ability to produce insulin.

    In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is not producing enough insulin to meet the body's needs. Over time, the amount of insulin typically becomes less and less.

     

    Insulin Resistance

    In some type 2 diabetes patients, cells build up a resistance to insulin. Even though there may be insulin in the bloodstream, it is not enough to unlock cells to allow glucose to enter.

    As a result, it takes more insulin to find the right key to unlock the cell for glucose. This makes it more difficult for cells to get the energy they need.

     

    The Effects of Diabetes

    When glucose can’t get into cells—either because there isn’t enough insulin or because the body is resisting it—glucose begins to build up in the bloodstream.

    As a result, all that energy is wasted. It does not get to cells where it is needed. Without glucose in your cells, they lack the energy they require to keep your body working.

Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Why is insulin important?

When we eat, most of our food breaks down into its basic components. One of them is glucose (sugar), which runs into our bloodstream. Turning blood sugar into energy that our cells can use requires insulin.

Normally, just the right amount of insulin is released from the pancreas to help the body use or store the sugar it gets from food.

See what happens with type 2 diabetes

What is type 2 diabetes?

For people with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body can’t properly use the insulin it produces to keep their blood sugar controlled.

Insulin resistance is the term sometimes used when the body can’t correctly use the insulin it produces.

See what happens with type 1 diabetes

What is type 1 diabetes?

For people with type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin at all. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and is managed with insulin therapy and other treatments.

What do the 4 kinds of insulin do?

The body continuously releases some insulin all day and extra at mealtimes. This helps keep your blood sugar stable. Insulin treatments like the ones you see here are meant to do the same thing. Simply put, they mimic how your body controls blood sugar. Keep reading to learn about the different types.

Long-acting insulin

(also called “basal insulin”) lowers blood sugar for about 24 hours. It’s taken once a day and helps to control blood sugar throughout the day, between meals, and while you’re asleep.

Intermediate-acting insulin

helps lower your blood sugar for 12-18 hours and is normally taken twice a day.

Short-acting insulin

(also called “mealtime insulin”) helps lower your blood sugar for up to 6 hours and is one of two types of insulin that are typically taken before meals. It’s often used with a longer-acting insulin.

Rapid-acting insulin

(also called “mealtime insulin”) helps lower your blood sugar for 2-4 hours and is one of two types of insulin that are typically taken before meals. It’s often used with a longer-acting insulin.

Please talk to your doctor to learn which one may be right for you.

About high and low blood sugar

Two hormones your body needs

Insulin is a hormone your pancreas produces naturally when you have high blood sugar levels. Your pancreatic beta cells make it. But did you know there’s a second hormone that’s also produced in the pancreas? It’s called glucagon. Your pancreatic alpha cells make it.

Your pancreas releases insulin when you have high blood sugar levels. And it releases glucagon when you have low blood sugar levels. Together, these two hormones help maintain a balance in your body and keep your blood sugar stable at all times. But even with the help of these two hormones, your blood sugar can still get out of balance. Keep reading to learn more about high and low blood sugar.

What about high and low blood sugar?

You just read how hormones help control your blood sugar around the clock. Even if you watch what you eat, you work out, and you follow your doctor’s plan for taking your medicines, your blood sugar may not always be where it should be.

When this happens, it has a name. Actually, it has two names. Doctors call it hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). And either one can be a problem. So speak with your doctor to learn the warning signs of low blood sugar and high blood sugar. That’s a great step in beginning to create a plan if either one happens to you.

Learning the symptoms of low blood sugar

When taking any medication, it’s important to understand how it might affect your body. So it’s good to know about what you may face when taking insulin. The most common side effect of insulin is low blood sugar. Some people may experience symptoms of low blood sugar, such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision, while some may experience no symptoms at all. So checking your blood sugar is key. Talk with your doctor to learn more about the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar.

Get questions to ask your doctor

Be prepared for your next doctor visit with our downloadable thought starters.

What is Toujeo® (insulin glargine injection) 300 Units/mL?

Prescription Toujeo is a long-acting man-made insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children who are 6 years of age and older with diabetes mellitus.

  • Toujeo is not for use to treat diabetic ketoacidosis
  • It is not known if Toujeo is safe and effective in children under 6 years of age

Important Safety Information

Important Safety Information

Do not take Toujeo if you have low blood sugar or if you are allergic to insulin or any of the ingredients in Toujeo.

Do not share your pen(s) with other people, even if the needle has been changed. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them.

Before starting Toujeo, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you have liver or kidney problems, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed.

Change (rotate) your injection sites within the area you chose with each dose to reduce your risk of getting lipodystrophy (pitted or thickened skin) and localized cutaneous amyloidosis (skin with lumps) at the injection sites. Do not use the same spot for each injection or inject where the skin is pitted, thickened, lumpy, tender, bruised, scaly, hard, scarred or damaged.

Heart failure can occur if you are taking insulin together with pills called TZDs (thiazolidinediones), even if you have never had heart failure or other heart problems. If you have heart failure, it may get worse while you take TZDs with Toujeo. Your treatment with TZDs and Toujeo may need to be changed or stopped by your doctor if you have new or worsening heart failure. Tell your doctor if you have any new or worsening symptoms including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling of your ankles or feet
     

Tell your doctor about all the medications you take, including OTC medicines, vitamins, and supplements, and herbal supplements.

Toujeo should be taken at the same time once a day. Test your blood sugar levels daily while using any insulin. Do not change your dose or type of insulin without talking to your doctor. Verify you have the correct insulin before each injection. Do NOT use a syringe to remove Toujeo from your pen. Your dose for Toujeo may be different from other insulins you have taken. Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision.

Do NOT dilute or mix Toujeo with any other insulin or solution. It will not work as intended and you may lose blood sugar control, which could be serious. Use Toujeo only if the solution is clear and colorless with no particles visible.

While using Toujeo, do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Toujeo affects you. Don’t drink alcohol or use other medicines that contain alcohol.

The most common side effect of any insulin, including Toujeo, is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which may be serious and life-threatening. Severe hypoglycemia may cause harm to your heart or brain. Symptoms of serious low blood sugar may include shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision.

Toujeo may cause severe allergic reactions that can lead to death. Get medical help right away if you have:

  • A rash over your whole body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of your face, tongue, or throat
  • Extreme drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
     

Toujeo may have additional side effects including swelling, weight gain, low potassium, and injection site reactions which may include change in fat tissue, skin thickening, redness, swelling, and itching.

Toujeo® SoloStar® and Toujeo® Max SoloStar® are single-patient-use prefilled insulin pens. It is important to perform a safety test when using a new pen for the first time. Talk to your doctor about proper injection technique and follow instructions in the Instruction Leaflet that comes with the pen.

 

Click here for Full Prescribing Information for Toujeo.

Click here for information on Sharps Medical Waste Disposal.

Click here to learn more about Sanofi's commitment to fighting counterfeit drugs.

If you are a patient experiencing problems with a Sanofi US product, please contact Sanofi US at 1-800-633-1610.

The health information contained herein is provided for general educational purposes only. Your healthcare professional is the single best source of information regarding your health. Please consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your health or treatment.

*Eligibility Restrictions & Offer Terms:

Insulins Valyou Savings Program: Sanofi insulins included in this program are: ADMELOG® (insulin lispro injection) 100 Units/mL, TOUJEO® (insulin glargine injection) 300 Units/mL, LANTUS® (insulin glargine injection) 100 Units/mL and APIDRA® (insulin glulisine injection) 100 Units/mL.

This offer is not valid for prescriptions covered by or submitted for reimbursement under Medicare, Medicaid, VA, DOD, TRICARE, similar federal or state programs, including any state pharmaceutical programs, or commercial / private insurance. Only people without prescription medication insurance can apply for this offer. Void where prohibited by law. For the duration of the program, eligible patients will pay $99 for up to 10 vials or packs of SoloStar pens per fill or up to 5 packs of Max SoloStar pens per fill. Offer valid for one fill per month. To pay $99 per month, you must fill all your Sanofi Insulin prescriptions at the same time, together each month. Not valid for SOLIQUA 100/33 (insulin glargine and lixisenatide) injection 100 Units/mL and 33 mcg/mL. When using the Insulins Valyou Savings Card, prices are guaranteed for 12 consecutive monthly fills. The Insulins Valyou Savings Program applies to the cost of medication. There are other relevant costs associated with overall treatment.

Sanofi Copay Program: This offer is not valid for prescriptions covered by or submitted for reimbursement under Medicare, Medicaid, VA, DOD, TRICARE, or similar federal or state programs including any state pharmaceutical assistance program. If you have an Affordable Care (Health Care Exchange) plan, you may still be qualified to receive and use this savings card. Please note: the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program is not a federal or state government health care program for purposes of the savings program. Void where prohibited by law.

• Toujeo: pay as low as $0 up to $99 for a 30-day supply, depending on insurance coverage. Valid up to 10 packs per fill; Offer valid for one fill per 30-day supply

Savings may vary depending on patients’ out-of-pocket costs. Upon registration, patients receive all program details. Sanofi US reserves the right to change the maximum cap amount, rescind, revoke or amend these programs without notice.

Important Safety Information

Important Safety Information

Do not take Toujeo if you have low blood sugar or if you are allergic to insulin or any of the ingredients in Toujeo.

Do not share your pen(s) with other people, even if the needle has been changed. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them.

Before starting Toujeo, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you have liver or kidney problems, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed.

Change (rotate) your injection sites within the area you chose with each dose to reduce your risk of getting lipodystrophy (pitted or thickened skin) and localized cutaneous amyloidosis (skin with lumps) at the injection sites. Do not use the same spot for each injection or inject where the skin is pitted, thickened, lumpy, tender, bruised, scaly, hard, scarred or damaged.

Heart failure can occur if you are taking insulin together with pills called TZDs (thiazolidinediones), even if you have never had heart failure or other heart problems. If you have heart failure, it may get worse while you take TZDs with Toujeo. Your treatment with TZDs and Toujeo may need to be changed or stopped by your doctor if you have new or worsening heart failure. Tell your doctor if you have any new or worsening symptoms including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling of your ankles or feet
     

Tell your doctor about all the medications you take, including OTC medicines, vitamins, and supplements, and herbal supplements.

Toujeo should be taken at the same time once a day. Test your blood sugar levels daily while using any insulin. Do not change your dose or type of insulin without talking to your doctor. Verify you have the correct insulin before each injection. Do NOT use a syringe to remove Toujeo from your pen. Your dose for Toujeo may be different from other insulins you have taken. Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision.

Do NOT dilute or mix Toujeo with any other insulin or solution. It will not work as intended and you may lose blood sugar control, which could be serious. Use Toujeo only if the solution is clear and colorless with no particles visible.

While using Toujeo, do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Toujeo affects you. Don’t drink alcohol or use other medicines that contain alcohol.

The most common side effect of any insulin, including Toujeo, is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which may be serious and life-threatening. Severe hypoglycemia may cause harm to your heart or brain. Symptoms of serious low blood sugar may include shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision.

Toujeo may cause severe allergic reactions that can lead to death. Get medical help right away if you have:

  • A rash over your whole body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of your face, tongue, or throat
  • Extreme drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
     

Toujeo may have additional side effects including swelling, weight gain, low potassium, and injection site reactions which may include change in fat tissue, skin thickening, redness, swelling, and itching.

Toujeo® SoloStar® and Toujeo® Max SoloStar® are single-patient-use prefilled insulin pens. It is important to perform a safety test when using a new pen for the first time. Talk to your doctor about proper injection technique and follow instructions in the Instruction Leaflet that comes with the pen.

 

Click here for Full Prescribing Information for Toujeo.

Click here for information on Sharps Medical Waste Disposal.

Click here to learn more about Sanofi's commitment to fighting counterfeit drugs.

If you are a patient experiencing problems with a Sanofi US product, please contact Sanofi US at 1-800-633-1610.

The health information contained herein is provided for general educational purposes only. Your healthcare professional is the single best source of information regarding your health. Please consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your health or treatment.

*Eligibility Restrictions & Offer Terms:

Insulins Valyou Savings Program: Sanofi insulins included in this program are: ADMELOG® (insulin lispro injection) 100 Units/mL, TOUJEO® (insulin glargine injection) 300 Units/mL, LANTUS® (insulin glargine injection) 100 Units/mL and APIDRA® (insulin glulisine injection) 100 Units/mL.

This offer is not valid for prescriptions covered by or submitted for reimbursement under Medicare, Medicaid, VA, DOD, TRICARE, similar federal or state programs, including any state pharmaceutical programs, or commercial / private insurance. Only people without prescription medication insurance can apply for this offer. Void where prohibited by law. For the duration of the program, eligible patients will pay $99 for up to 10 vials or packs of SoloStar pens per fill or up to 5 packs of Max SoloStar pens per fill. Offer valid for one fill per month. To pay $99 per month, you must fill all your Sanofi Insulin prescriptions at the same time, together each month. Not valid for SOLIQUA 100/33 (insulin glargine and lixisenatide) injection 100 Units/mL and 33 mcg/mL. When using the Insulins Valyou Savings Card, prices are guaranteed for 12 consecutive monthly fills. The Insulins Valyou Savings Program applies to the cost of medication. There are other relevant costs associated with overall treatment.

Sanofi Copay Program: This offer is not valid for prescriptions covered by or submitted for reimbursement under Medicare, Medicaid, VA, DOD, TRICARE, or similar federal or state programs including any state pharmaceutical assistance program. If you have an Affordable Care (Health Care Exchange) plan, you may still be qualified to receive and use this savings card. Please note: the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program is not a federal or state government health care program for purposes of the savings program. Void where prohibited by law.

• Toujeo: pay as low as $0 up to $99 for a 30-day supply, depending on insurance coverage. Valid up to 10 packs per fill; Offer valid for one fill per 30-day supply

Savings may vary depending on patients’ out-of-pocket costs. Upon registration, patients receive all program details. Sanofi US reserves the right to change the maximum cap amount, rescind, revoke or amend these programs without notice.